6. Reducing energy use by replacing all the lights with LEDs

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According to the figures on our electricity bill, our family of four adults has below average energy use, which is a surprise as I thought we were pretty wasteful. We have all the normal white goods, everyone has a laptop and we have old and inefficient central heating. Our use ranges from about 12kWh a day in Autumn and late Spring/early Summer when heating and cooling are at a minimum, to about 16kWh at the height of winter and Summer.  Our average for the year, according to our bills, is about 14kWh, while the average for our area is between 20 and 27kWh per day. I just did an internet search for average Melbourne household use and according to the Victorian Government household energy calculator http://switchon.vic.gov.au/more-ways-to-save/household-electricity-calculator our use is less than half the average across Melbourne. This site claims average use for a family like ours is 33.5 kWh a day. I guess I should be pleased but I’m shocked with disbelief. We don’t have a pool or a garage so that might make a difference, and we do have gas hot water and stove top, but I’m having trouble imagining what people do to use all that power. However, the aim of the project here is to reduce my own emissions, so comparisons aren’t really important. If we can reduce our energy use the solar panels will cover more of it and we’ll need less from the grid.

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LEDs

One of the steps on Energy Freedom is lighting http://energyfreedom.com.au/led-lighting/ and I figured this shouldn’t be too a big expense and should pay for itself fairly quickly anyway. The website claims lighting is about 13% of most households’ electricity bills, that LED downlights use 80% less energy than halogens and that LED globes pay for themselves in less than a year. Previously I posted that we already have LEDs in the kitchen and downstairs bathroom; now it’s time to do the rest of the house. I got a quote (from an old student of mine who’d completed his electrician’s apprenticeship) which was about $850 plus labour for replacing all our old halogen downlights with new LEDs (including new fittings as the existing ones are ancient and ugly 1980s models), installing new downlights in other rooms, and replacing all the globes in the remaining pendant lights with LEDs – a total of 21 downlights and 6 LED globes. If you have the more recent 12-volt halogen downlight fittings, you can retrofit them with free LEDs as part of the current Victorian government VEET scheme initiative https://www.veet.vic.gov.au/Public/Public.aspx?id=Home . However, unfortunately our fittings are too old. So can’t tick this one off just yet but it’s booked in and happening in the next couple of weeks. Very exciting!

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